Igor Vovkovinskiy
Being the tallest man in the United States is no small task for Igor Vovkovinskiy. Jonathan Ernst

A University of Edinburgh study seems to have found proof that variety really is the spice of life.

After analysing health and genetic information from more than 100 studies, which had details on more than 350,000 people, its findings suggest that those who are from diverse genetic backgrounds are more likely to be taller and possess sharper thinking skills than others.

However, the diversity of one's genetics – that which has been passed down from your parents – had no impact on the chances of high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, claim the researchers.

The researchers analysed participants' entire genetic make-up and were able to identify instances where the patients had inherited identical copies of genes from both parents – meaning that their ancestors were related in some capacity.

The report states that this is an indicator of greater genetic diversity as the two family members were unlikely to be distantly related. It had been thought that this could lead to health issues but the study has led the scientists to the conclusion that this is not the case and that it will only effect stature and quick thinking.

Published in Nature, Dr Jim Wilson, of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, said: "This study highlights the power of large-scale genetic analyses to uncover fundamental information about our evolutionary history."

Dr Peter Joshi, of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, added: "Our research answers questions first posed by Darwin as to the benefits of genetic diversity. Our next step will be to hone in on the specific parts of the genome that most benefit from diversity."